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Former governor advances to runoff primary in South Carolina

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March 19, 2013

South Carolina

By Jennifer Springer

Charleston, South Carolina: Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R) continued his attempt to re-enter public service, advancing to the Republican Primary runoff in the 1st Congressional District special election. Sanford is likely to face Curtis Bostic, who was the runner-up -- although a recount is possible between Bostic and Larry Grooms (R). Elizabeth Colbert-Busch (D) easily won the Democratic primary and will face the winner of the Republican primary runoff, set to take place on April 2.

Eighteen candidates, including two Democratic candidates and 16 Republican candidates, went head to head in the primary elections. Voters were given the task of selecting which candidates were to advance as nominees to fill the seat left empty following the appointment of Tim Scott to the U.S. Senate.[1] Scott was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Gov. Nikki Haley (R) to replace Jim DeMint (R). DeMint decided to resign and head the conservative Heritage Foundation beginning in January 2013.[2]

Because no Republican candidate was able to gain the required majority of the vote, a runoff election between the two top candidates will take place on April 2, 2013.[3]

Former Gov. Mark Sanford was able to secure the largest percentage of the votes, slightly more than a third of the overall vote total, among the Republican candidates, but was unable to gain the majority required in order to win the nomination.[4] Bostic had about 13.32 percent and Grooms earned about 12.40 percent.[5]Under South Carolina election law, a recount would be necessary if the second- and third-place finishers are separated by a margin of less than 1 percent.[6]

Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, sister of Stephen Colbert, easily defeated challenger Ben Frasier in the Democratic primary for the seat.[4]

The general election is scheduled for May 7, 2013.[7] The general election race is expected to be tough for any Democrat. The Charleston-area seat has been a Republican stronghold for decades, and continues to lean Republican.[8][9] The last Democratic candidate elected was Mendel Jackson Davis in 1978.[10]

Some speculate on what effect the "increasingly rancorous Republican primary" will have on the eventual nominee heading into the May 7 general election, and whether it might be a slight advantage to Colbert-Busch.[11]

U.S. House, South Carolina District 1 Special Democratic Primary, 2013
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngElizabeth Colbert-Busch 95.9% 15,802
Ben Frasier 4.1% 682
Total Votes 16,484
Source: Official results via South Carolina State Election Commission[12]
U.S. House, South Carolina District 1 Special Republican Primary, 2013
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngMark Sanford 36.9% 19,854
Green check mark transparent.pngCurtis Bostic 13.3% 7,168
Ric Bryant 0.2% 87
Larry Grooms 12.4% 6,673
Jonathan Hoffman 0.7% 360
Jeff King 0.4% 211
John Kuhn 6.5% 3,479
Tim Larkin 0.7% 393
Harry "Chip" Limehouse 6.1% 3,279
Peter McCoy 1.6% 867
Elizabeth Moffly 1% 530
Ray Nash 4.7% 2,508
Andy Patrick 7% 3,783
Shawn Pinkston 0.3% 154
Keith Blandford 0.4% 195
Teddy Turner 7.9% 4,252
Total Votes 53,793
Source: Official results via South Carolina State Election Commission[12]

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